Summary: Anna told others that "the redemption of Jerusalem" had come. And that's what Jesus had come to do - redeem the lost. But what does "redeem" mean, and why should it matter to us?
OPEN: Christmas is a busy season for most people. There are the decorations, bright lights, Christmas caroling, and all kinds of family gatherings, Church and school activities it can wear a person out.
One woman, for example waited until last minute to send out her Christmas cards. She had 49 folks on her list. So she rushed into a store and she bought a package of 50 cards without really looking at them. Still in a big hurry, she addressed the 49 and signed them without reading the message inside. On Christmas Day when things had quieted down a bit, she found the leftover card buried under some papers on her dining room table and she finally read the message she had sent to 49 of her friends. Much to her dismay, it read like this: “This card is just to say / A little gift is on the way.” Suddenly she realized, 49 of her friends were expecting a gift - that would never come.
APPLY: That poor woman didn’t take time to think about what sending out and she ended up promising a gift she couldn’t give.
By contrast, God spent centuries telling His people the gift He intended to give them. He described that gift in detail so that, when Jesus came, over 300 prophecies described WHO He was, and WHAT He was to do. And, when He showed up, Anna knew exactly WHO He was. We’re told: “She began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” Luke 2:38
THIS CHILD HAD BEEN BORN TO BRING REDEMPTION! In fact, that’s a repeated theme throughout the New Testament.
Jesus IS repeatedly referred to as THE ONE who would redeem us. Galatians 3:13 tells us “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” And in Titus 2:14 we’re told (Jesus) “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” And Colossians 1:13-14 declares “(God) has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Now THESE words - “redeem” and “redemption” are… interesting. What does it mean that Jesus “REDEEMED” us? Well, my first thought was that it meant that Jesus’ blood has bought us. And while that’s true… but it’s more than that.
ILLUS: To help us understand the concept of redemption a little story. It seems a young boy named Tom and his father had built a small toy boat together. It took quite a long time to do that… but when it was finished – it was beautiful. And Tom could hardly wait! On a wonderful Spring day, he took the toy boat down to the river, attached a string to it, and carefully placed it in the water. The little boat looked almost real as it floated on the river. BUT SUDDENLY, a strong current caught the boat and as Tom tried to pull it back to shore, the string broke. The little boat raced downstream and Tom running along the shore as fast as he could but his boat quickly slipped out of sight. All afternoon he searched for the boat. Finally, when it was too dark … and Tom sadly went home.
A few days later, on the way home from school, Tom spotted a boat just like his in a store window. When he got closer, he could see--sure enough--it was his! He hurried into the store manager: "Sir, that's my boat in your window! I made it!" "Sorry, son. Someone else brought it in this morning. If you want it, you'll have to buy it." So, Tom ran home and counted all his money. It took all the money he had, but he bought back the little boat he’d made. As he left the store, Tom hugged his boat and said, "Now you're twice mine. First, I made you, and now I’ve bought you."
Now, what does that tell us about redemption? Redemption literally means to “buy something back.” It belonged to you but, for whatever reason you had to “redeem” it, or buy it back. That little boy had OWNED that boat, but – in order to get it back - he had to redeem it.
Pawn Shops do this all the time. People will come and pawn a watch/ computer/ TV to get extra money. BUT then they have a limited amount of time they can come back and “redeem” that object for the “pawn” price PLUS interest. The person who pawned that item had OWNED IT… but in order to get it back they had to redeem it.